If it helps, a bit of background: I recently started playing a game of Savage Worlds. In this game our characters are a group of misfits at a high school in America that are kinda like the gang in Scooby Doo. The character I created is good at some stuff but is only confident when doing that, the rest of the time she is really shy (this was accidental but I liked the idea and played on it a bit more).

The problems I have found are: A) I'm naturally quite a loud person so I'm not sure how to play a quiet character; B) whilst trying to look up A I found a lot of answers that encouraged playing her as quiet and unwilling to talk to new people. However, if I play her quiet, I don't know how to then get involved.

Does anybody have any ideas for A or B?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/41509/760 \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 11 '15 at 4:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ not quite- that is more like an aragorn type person- this is a person more like fluttershy from my little pony \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Dawson Jan 11 '15 at 4:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ While this question covers muteness instead of shyness, there's quite a bit of crossover in play tactics, and you might find those answers useful. \$\endgroup\$ – thatgirldm Jan 11 '15 at 5:57

To add on to @mxyzplk's answer (particularly part 2):

Be Descriptive

You have to remember that (depending on the group/player, of course) a lot of what brings a character's personality out is their dialogue; if your character is shy and you're focusing on the 'quiet-shy' angle of that, you need to make sure that you're bringing out a similar amount of personality through descriptions of your actions instead.

A shy character isn't a blank mask standing alongside the party and is still going to have reactions to things going on around them, even if it isn't spoken aloud in character- describing how your character physically/emotionally reacts is going to be key to still feeling like you're present at a scene (both to yourself and to the other players/the GM) and letting everyone else continue to interact with you.

Basically, make sure the shyness stays as part of the character, and don't let it extend to yourself at the table.

Another important point to remember is that 'shy' is different from 'mute'; There are still going to be times when you have to/are motivated enough to talk to someone. Remember to keep your character's shy personality in mind even in these situations, when appropriate. As a few examples, though hardly the only way(s) it could be approached:

  • Make sure you describe yourself as being something along the lines of noticeably hesitant/nervous when approaching a conversation your character wouldn't be comfortable with.
  • Intersperse occasional extra nervous phrases/pauses throughout your speech ('Um's, occasionally getting a sentence tangled up in nervousness, etc.).
    • Side note: I like the idea you provided of the character coming out of their shell when doing something they're confident with. Something like this will help make the contrast between those times and the normal, more shy discussions more noticeable. You could even use this to effect in normal conversations if you think your character's getting less nervous with whoever they're talking with as the conversation goes on.
  • Their reactions to social conflict may be different compared to the more outgoing people around them; Wincing when someone suddenly gets angry rather than trying to diffuse a situation/getting angry back, trying to quietly convince the party to avoid or leave a difficult social situation entirely, trying to end a social situation as quickly as possible if they're the focus, etc.

Also worth noting is to make sure that the shyness doesn't overextend itself into parts of your character that it shouldn't apply to- if they're only shy, and not just generally nervous/anxious about things, it shouldn't come through nearly as much in a non-social situation. A shy character can still be bold and take action.


Get The GM and Other Players' Buy-In

Tell them you're playing a very shy character. In My Little Pony, it's the other ponies that drag Fluttershy into the action a lot of the time, so you need them ready and willing to play that role. You have to not resist so much that they give up on you. And ideally the other PCs are your friends so you "open up" decently around them. And the GM can put you into situations where you have to interact with others, and you can then do so awkwardly.

Use The Third Person

Usually I prefer first-person roleplaying. But with a shy character you still need player spotlight time. Just narrate what that shy character is doing. Just because she's not talking to people hopefully doesn't mean she's also not doing anything; if so you need to revisit your character concept for appropriateness. Velma's not a big people person but she's happy to talk to the rest of the Scooby gang.


I played a character like this once. She was very young, and had witnessed the (rather brutal) deaths of her parents at an even younger age. As such, she was very hesitant to open up to or trust strangers. And in this particular campaign, even the other PCs were strangers, only having met one another at the onset of the campaign.

My character felt confident not when she was doing something she was good at, but instead only really opened up to "her mother" -- that is, she had a pendant that was the only thing left behind from her parents, so she often "saw" her mother and would tell her things she wasn't really prepared to tell the party. Her mother was more like an imaginary friend in this regard, but it helped a lot to communicate to the other PCs.

For example, if she spotted a trap or sensed some kind of danger, rather than telling the PCs directly, they might hear her whisper to her mother, "Be careful here Mom; whoever built this place doesn't want us seeing what's inside."

Depending on what your character is "good at", you could use that as a conduit to communicate to the party or perhaps others. If her hobby is something like whittling, then perhaps she can only truly communicate effectively while she focuses on her carving, making no eye contact with the person to whom she's speaking, thus making it very awkward to talk to her.

Avoiding eye contact is a good way to convey that a character is nervous or uncomfortable. Other possibilities might be that the character develops specific nervous habits that come up often when she's in a social situation. This can range from serious, realistic nervous habits (such as fidgeting a lot, biting fingernails, always being distracted by rummaging through her sack, stopping sentences halfway through because she feels like she's saying something wrong/stupid) to more fun, light-hearted habits (such as referring to things by using unconventional names that make her feel more comfortable [calling a mermaid character "Fishy One" if she's kinda childish; calling a werewolf character "Homo Lupus" if she's super intelligent], specifically asking characters to turn their backs to her when she addresses them).

Also, as has been mentioned before: Just because your character isn't comfortable speaking all the time, doesn't mean she can't act all the time. As you're walking through the woods, maybe your character spots a pitfall trap that your party is about to walk into. Rather than shouting a warning, she might just pick up a nearby stone and throw it onto the trap, causing it to collapse and thereby warning the others.

And lastly, being "shy and quiet" can often be played as an advantage in many social situations. If your character is at all smart and resourceful, it shouldn't be difficult for her to sneak away from the party unnoticed and pull off some kind of covert reconnaissance while the others keep the NPCs distracted by being social. This is one of my favorite things to do with a quiet character -- help the party out in ways that they don't even notice until a couple of sessions later, then leave them wondering how in the world it happened.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks: the hobby however is gymnastics (I created her to be a gymnast and then discovered that her confidence was really low and went with that instead). So what would be a good way to use the gymnastics? \$\endgroup\$ – Alex Dawson Jan 11 '15 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well if you're being light-hearted, you can make it so that she communicates best when she stands on her head (I've actually seen this in a cartoon but I can't recall which). If she's flexible to the point of [almost] being a contortionist, there's always the option of having her dislocate things while she talks -- that's definitely awkward. A gymnist seems more like a doer rather than a talker, though, so my last paragraph seems to fit the best -- if the party comes to a narrow passage, rather than have her suggest a solution, she just starts crawling through while they debate. \$\endgroup\$ – EFrog Jan 11 '15 at 14:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or if there's a chasm that needs crossing, while the party devises a way to make a bridge, she finds something suitable nearby with which to pole-vault across, then from the other side tells the party, "I'll take a look around." Of course if you're playing someone whose shyness stems from fear, that might not work. \$\endgroup\$ – EFrog Jan 11 '15 at 14:49

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